December 2022 Issue: Co-operator Newsletter Quarterly December 2022

Caregiving symposium by Silver Caregivers Co-operative sees need for more support for caregivers

Caregiving symposium by Silver Caregivers Co-operative sees need for more support for caregivers
Caption: Caregiving symposium by Silver Caregivers Co-operative sees need for more support for caregivers

By Sng Ler Jun

Numbers don’t lie.

In 2030, one in four Singaporeans will be over 65 years old, approximately 1.1 million out of 6.9 million total population based on the projections from the 2013 White Paper. This puts the discourse of caregiving on centre stage.

“The care needs of the population will increase, perhaps exponentially,” said Mr Eric Chua, Senior Parliament Secretary, Ministry of Social and Family Development & Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, at the Silver Caregivers Co-operative Symposium. “We will face growing caregiving needs.”

The symposium, organised by fellow affiliate Silver Caregivers Co-operative Limited, was held at Lifelong Learning Institute on 17 September. Besides sharing coping strategies among caregivers to strengthen family units in Singapore, the symposium featured panel discussions that highlighted the challenges faced by informal caregivers in order to raise awareness and advocate for better policies, resources and services.

Mr Chua, the symposium’s guest of honour, also highlighted a 2018 Quality of Life of Caregivers study which found that slightly more than half of the caregivers surveyed had challenges coping. Financial difficulties and the need to take care of multiple people may have attributed to these challenges. The 2018 study was conducted by the National Council of Social Service.

Dr Tan Jit Seng, a panellist at the symposium, shared that caregiving is often a sudden affair. “It can happen to anyone, anywhere,” he said, recounting his own experiences speaking with his patients. He commented that caregivers can reach out to general practitioners and family doctors for health-related advice. Dr Tan also shared that caregivers are often at risk of financial abuse – particularly if they have yet to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney for the persons they are caring for.

Adjunct Associate Professor Corrine Goh, another panellist present, added that caregivers should leverage their siblings’ relationships to help care for their parents together. According to her, when sibling relationships are close, there are justifications in undertaking greater responsibilities than other siblings. 

Mr Chua added: “We recognise the invaluable role that caregivers play in our lives and in our society. Let us work together to better understand what our caregivers need and to strengthen our caregiver support ecosystem.”

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SNCF is the apex body of Singapore’s Co-operative Movement, and secretariat of the Central Co-operative Fund (CCF). Formed in 1980 with the aim of championing Singapore’s Co-operative Movement, the apex body represents 99% of co-operative members in Singapore through its affiliated co-operatives.